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O Magazine
2015-2017

Against

authenticity

By Joan Pons

Yep, I can also see that he’s pretending to be touching knobs but doing nothing, I’m not blind. But, you know what? I don’t care. If those DJs (I don’t know who they are) spend their sessions really working on their decks or simply making a pantomime is the same. What’s important is the result of their presence on stage, more than of their actions. That is to say, the reverse shot of this GIF is where we would really appreciate whether their fake set is successful or not. We should see the dance floor. Is the audience dancing? There’s where the truth lies. But, of course, we all hold a kind of rock education sediment that pushes us to value authenticity more than performance. As if what happened on a stage (in this case inside a booth) was documentary, and not fiction, fodder. We prefer workers to comedians. That’s why when electronic music boomed we distrusted it with a cynical funny face that revealed our suspicions that Orbital or The Chemical Brothers, in their first (and fabulous) gigs, in fact had only pressed the CD play button. Or we stuck our noses to the DJ booth (I was a teenage window licker!) to examine whether it was a fraud or not. And still today, some people feel outraged when they go to see the Sleaford Mods and discover that Andrew Robert Lindsay Fearn doesn’t even pretend he’s there for anything else than drinking beer and taking selfies in front of his laptop. Because electronics have no soul, right? And EDM is the devil. And yes, this GIF is a laugh. And it almost provokes some indignation. It’s understandable. We prefer feeling like those bumpkins who wanted to beat Fangoria up for giving a pre-recorded show (when playbacks are a lot of liberating fun!) in their village festival, instead of letting ourselves get carried away by the music and that’s it. Deceit, make up and farce are part of the attitude on a stage. That’s why the extreme close-up in this GIF is unfair. Because unveiling the trick is fuel for haters (the problem isn’t the trick, but its revelation). Nothing happening on a stage should be subjected to the light or to stenographers. Smoke and mirrors suit it better. Truth should only be represented, not try to be true. Because there’s a certain pleasure in feeling happily conned, as in rock’n’roll (Johnny Rotten already said it).